Learning you have diabetes is a difficult diagnosis to receive. Diabetes is a complex disease, and each case is as unique as you, the patient. Diabetes comes in different forms and requires important lifestyle adjustments, continual monitoring and ongoing communication with your health care professional. Read on to learn about the different types, as well as the distinct symptoms and causes related to each, to better understand, detect and manage diabetes and pave the path toward improved health and well-being.
Pre-diabetes is diagnosed in individuals whose blood glucose levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to be diagnosed with diabetes. Because those with pre-diabetes meet some of the criteria for diabetes, these patients are considered in a “gray area” and at high risk for developing Type 2 diabetes. While people with pre-diabetes typically do not demonstrate symptoms, in most cases, pre-diabetes almost always presents itself before a person develops Type 2 diabetes. If pre-diabetes is caught early, patients have a high chance of preventing the onset of Type 2 diabetes through diet and exercise modification.
Type 1 Diabetes
Previously known as juvenile diabetes, Type 1 diabetes accounts for 5 percent of all diabetes cases. Type 1 diabetes is a chronic condition that is primarily diagnosed in children and adolescents whose pancreas produces little or no insulin. Insulin is the hormone needed to allow glucose, or sugar, to enter cells and produce energy. Though the exact cause of Type 1 diabetes is currently unknown, researchers believe genetics and exposure to certain viruses may contribute to the development of the disease. Individuals with Type 1 diabetes develop symptoms quickly and may include:
- Dehydration and frequent urination
- Extreme hunger
- Weight loss
- Fatigue and tiredness
Talking to a doctor at the first signs of Type 1 diabetes is essential to interfering with the progression of the disease. Unfortunately, there is not yet a cure for Type 1 diabetes. However, through specialized meal planning, targeted exercise and intensive insulin therapy, it is now more manageable than ever.
Type 2 Diabetes
Previously known as adult-onset diabetes, Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes and is diagnosed in individuals who either do not produce enough insulin or whose bodies are not able to recognize insulin and properly use it to produce energy. Type 2 diabetes usually occurs in adults over the age of 40 who are overweight, but it can occur in an adult who is not overweight and is actually becoming a more common diagnosis in obese children. The primary risk factors for this form of diabetes are being overweight and inactive. Symptoms may include:
- Any Type 1 diabetes symptoms
- Frequent infections
- Blurred vision
- Cuts and bruises that are slow to heal
Being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes is important to managing symptoms. Treatment plans for Type 2 diabetes oftentimes include a combination of blood glucose testing, medication and healthy lifestyle modifications, such as weight management through diet and exercise.
Affecting approximately 18 percent of pregnancies, gestational diabetes is diagnosed in pregnant women who have never had diabetes before but who have high blood glucose levels during pregnancy, typically around week 24. While the causes of gestational diabetes are still being researched, the condition is believed to be caused when hormones from a pregnant woman’s placenta block the action of insulin to and from cells. Because gestational diabetes does not typically cause obvious symptoms, most women learn they have the condition during their prenatal care visits. Depending on a patient’s unique condition, doctors can make the appropriate recommendations for health management and make referrals in care, if necessary, to keep mom and baby safe for a healthy birth.
For the estimated 7 million Americans living with undiagnosed diabetes, learning about the types, symptoms and causes of diabetes is often times the first step toward getting the necessary medical treatment, feeling better and living a longer, healthier life. To learn more about managing diabetes from home with the support of clinicians specializing in chronic care disease management, contact UnityPoint at Home today.
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